May is Beef Month! Join us for the Brenny Farms Virtual Field Trip to Ted and Katie’s beef farm in Mazeppa, Minnesota. They are both 5th generation farmers and are the owners of Brenny Farms. Beef is what is raised on the farm along with green grass. The beef cows consist of Angus and Charolais genetics. Brenny Farms is committed to being environmental stewards of the land by improving water quality and natural habitat.
Brenny Farms History
Katie and Ted’s families have been farming for five generations. This means their great-great-great grand fathers started their family farms years ago. They enjoy being able to carry this tradition on for another generation. Ted grew up on a dairy farm with corn, soybeans and some beef cattle near St. Cloud, Minnesota. Katie grew up one a corn, soybean, pumpkin and beef cattle farm in Mazeppa, Minnesota. Katie and Ted met at the Minnesota State Fair while showing cattle. After getting married, they moved to the beef farm in Mazeppa, Minnesota.
Beef Cow Breeds
Katie and Ted have Charolais, white breed of beef cows, and Angus cattle, black breed of beef cows, on their farm. Think about your own family heritage such as German, Polish and the many others. This is the family line that you come from. Similarly, every farmer and rancher do things a little bit different. Angus and Charolais are the breeds Katie and Ted have chosen for their beef farm.
Feeding the Cows
Posts and ribbon fence are what is used to make paddocks, sections of grass to be grazed for the cattle, for the cows on Brenny Farms. Cattle move between the paddocks every one to four days based on grass growth. They will rotate on to each paddock about 3-4 times a year during the summertime. This is an example of how awesome of a natural recycler cows are. Cows put grass through the four compartments of their stomach. They produce baby calves which then turn into beef which you can buy at a restaurant or the grocery store.
Katie and Ted also feed the cows mineral from Land O Lakes. Just like eating your Flintstone vitamins each day, these vitamins and minerals help keep cows’ bodies functioning each day. In the winter time, the cows get hay, dried grass, and cracked corn. Both of these feeds are bought off and help the cows have more energy in the cold.
In the winter time, since the grass pastures are not growing, the cattle are fed hay that was cut and dried last summer. Think about how your family mows the lawn. Hay is collecting this grass from each mowing and saving it for the winter time to be fed each day. Farmers also do this for the bedding, protect from the grounds cold and moisture, with straw bales. Farmers cut fields after the grain fields have been harvested. The straw is the stem leftover and used for keeping cows warm and comfortable during the winter.
About the Brenny Farms Herd
On average, the Minnesota beef farmer as 16 to 18 cows in their herd. On the Brenny Farms, Ted and Katie have 25 mothers, five calves, one bull and a donkey, Daisy, in their herd. They both work off the farm in agriculture careers as well. So many tasks around the farm are done during the weekends and before or after their day jobs.
At Brenny Farms, calves are born throughout the summer. When a calf is born, they weigh about 60 (weight of kindergarten) to 90 pounds depending on their genetics and environmental influences. Their calves weigh about 600 to 800 pounds when they leave the farm and go to the next step of the beef cycle. When a beef animal goes to market, they can weigh 1600 to 1800 pounds.
Learn the Beef Language
- Mob Grazing: Cattle eating the grass pasture to a shorter length before going onto the next pasture/paddock
- Paddock: A section of grass pasture that has been separated from a larger area to allow pasture management (grass growth)
- Heifer is a female has not had a calf yet.
- First time calf heifer: Once they have a baby, they are called a first calf heifer.
- Cow: After calf number two comes, then they are called a cow.
- Bull is a male testosterone and seaman to breed the cows. We know the calves by tag numbers. We check on her in the morning and evening.
Learn more about the Brenny Farms by watching cameraman Ted and Katie’s virtual farm tour.
Interested in learning more about beef farming? Check out these past blog articles!